Brewing Beer Through Grad School
“Chemists love beer,” an editor of mine told me as I pitched to her the idea of turning a failed feature story into a Newscripts item.
My idea was to cover two Northwestern University grad students who transformed brewing beer in their kitchen as a hobby into a full-fledged club in Evanston. Today, the club claims nearly a dozen members from various walks of science.
I was afraid that there would be more clubs like it, and sure enough, I was right.
Newscripts received an e-mail this week from Andy LaFrate, a postdoc at the University of Colorado, saying that there are several chemists in his Boulder lab who homebrew.
“It is a lot cheaper than buying beer at the store, and with a little practice, you can produce beers that rival the best microbrews out there,” LaFrate says.
He points out that there are websites that give “clone” recipes such as the aptly-named beerrecipes.org that provide guidance to homebrewers.
LaFrate says CU has an official brewing club called “Zymurgy,” as in the branch of applied chemistry that deals with fermentation. The club hosted a seminar not too long ago, and the head of brewing at Shiner Beer gave a talk.
“Very cool,” LaFrate wrote in his e-mail.
Apparently, there is a whole beer-brewing subculture in chemistry grad school I didn’t know about. It just may be a reason to go back to school.